WDAY: The News Leader

Published October 03, 2010, 09:38 AM

ND authorities to start prosecuting synthetic marijuana cases again

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - North Dakota authorities are once again cracking down on synthetic marijuana. This after the state pharmacy board didn't properly notify the public of a ban, halting arrests and prosecutions last month.

By: Travis Skonseng, WDAY

For 19-year old Karl Neugebauer, trying synthetic marijuana to get high was on his to do list.

“Well I can't smoke real weed I guess anymore because I got in trouble. So I figured hey, this doesn't show up, maybe I'll smoke it.”

At about 50 dollars for a three ounce pouch, it's cheaper than the real deal. It tastes different, but gives a similar feeling or high in most cases.

“The first time I tried it, it was not like a real high. It was like a natural high.”

“Sometimes we have creative people in the community and they're looking for ways to get maybe one step ahead of the law. Through the board of pharmacy, the law has taken to a step to regain that step.”

A new North Dakota rule adds synthetic marijuana to a lengthy list of controlled substances. Authorities expect to see arrests go up.

“Things could get a little busier right now and hopefully people learn that synthetic marijuana is illegal just like other drugs.”

Arrests, charges, and prosecutions will be similar to other drug crimes. Authorities will issue a warrant, wait for lab results, and then make an arrest. Cass County State's Attorney Birch Burdick calls synthetic marijuana a public safety issue.

“People have been using and abusing them and as a result are suffering health problems.”

For one user, twice is enough. Karl Neugebauer says he's done with wasting money on synthetic marijuana.

“It just doesn't really do anything for me.”

The average charge is a C-felony, punishable of five years in jail.